The alchemy is rare and exotic: a stunning model who is also a Police captain in Prey Veng province; in a contrast of careers that will make anyone tingle in envy and admiration. What a head-turner in an admirably chosen field that, was it even possible for this 24-year-old provincial native girl to rise from a childhood dream to become a rising star in the modelling industry? She was first discovered as an outstanding model in an ABC Extra Stout 2019 fashion competition and then becoming a crime-buster. Bun Sema has charted her career path well but young at heart, the tough lady has always wanted to be a national model in Cambodia. Police Captain Bun Sema talks to Som Kanika in an exclusive Good Times2 interview.
GT2: Can you briefly describe your journey of becoming a police officer in Prey Veng province? And how did you step into the modelling industry?
Bun Sema: Growing up in the province, Prey Veng is a land close to my heart, a place where most of my family, relatives and friends live. Thus, from childhood till now, I have had a strong sense of protection and connection with Prey Veng. It has always descended on me to ensure my community and people are secure and live in prosperity. Which is also the primary reason that in 2016, I decided to enlist as a police officer, followed by two years of training.
Even though my goal is to protect my village and community and providing harmony to my people but if people ask me, what I REALLY want to be in the future, from childhood till now, I have always aimed to become a fashion model. My journey in the modelling industry begin in 2018 when I saw an application for models with ABC Extra Stout. Despite no high expectations, I got selected in the competition and become who I am today.
GT2: Your journey of becoming a police officer was inspired by your cherished childhood. So how about modelling, where do you draw this inspiration from?
Bun Sema: Everyone loves singing, dancing and modelling, to be on stage and it is part of an active, socially vibrant culture. Some might take it as a way to de-stress while others see it as an art to express themselves and I guess me too. I have loved modelling since I was young. I love feeling very confident which I can be when I am modelling.
GT2: You have been in the modelling industry for two years, what is your insight on this field?
Bun Sema: I think the modelling industry in Cambodia is fast growing in potential but there are some gaps that we need to develop. For instance, in my case, I am a woman who comes from the countryside and it is really hard for me to come to the city and process everything alone by myself. I hope there is an agency (a talent scout) that can reach out to the countryside or provinces in Cambodia so that they can discover more talented people.
GT2: As a police officer and a rising model at the same time, have you received any criticism from your family or the public in terms of your contrasting careers?
Bun Sema: Indeed absolutely! In the beginning, so many people, including my family members and even my friends, question me about what I am doing and they seem to have a lot of doubts on my chosen field. Because the competition (pageants, fashion shows) is conducted in Phnom Penh City, I had to do a lot of travelling – which is not ideal at all for women in this (conservative) society to travel afar from home.
GT2: What message would you give to young people who harbour so many dreams and are confused with whether they can achieve it?
Bun Sema: To the beautiful, young souls out there. Life has much to offer, for everyone with different dreams. Once you have chosen a direction, you have to be persistent and work hard towards your own goals and dreams.